The City of Turlock is participating in National Night Out, a nationwide event which is held on Aug. 7th, the night is focused on encouraging police and community partnerships heighten the awareness of crime in the community.
One of the purposes of National Night Out is to encourage participation in anti-crime programs such as Neighborhood Watch.
According to the U.S. Justice Department, areas with a Neighborhood Watch program saw a 16% less crime than areas without a neighborhood watch program.
Michele Balacek of the Turlock Police Department spoke at the monthly Community Collaborative Meeting on Tuesday afternoon to address the importance of neighborhood watch programs and how good neighbors can help prevent crime.
“It helps with building the police and community connections so that we can address the problem together, and it really focuses in on key concepts like observe and report,” Officer Balacek said.
Those involved in the neighborhood watch programs are to report behavior that they believe is suspicious.
“You are in your neighborhoods more often than our patrol officers can be, so hopefully you know when something is not right,” Officer Balacek said. “If something is telling you that it's not right, listen to that and go with it, call the non emergency number.”
Another important goal of Neighborhood watch programs is to educate the community on how to be safe. Officer Balacek gave a few example of how to stay safe in our communities.
“Start to think like a criminal, and you can start to evaluate your behavior and how you go about things in your day to day life so you can find out where your vulnerabilities are,” Officer Balacek said.
Overall, people should pay attention to what is going on around them in order to stay safe.
“If they can catch you off guard, your less likely to fight back and you're less likely to be able to identify them, pay attention to your surroundings and pay attention to the people that are around you,” Oficer Balacek said.
Out of 84 neighborhood watch programs in Turlock, only 24 are currently registered to participate in National Night out.
By registering for National Night Out, your neighborhood could get a visit from the Turlock Police Department, the Turlock Fire Department, or other Turlock City officials.
If you are interested in becoming a part of a neighborhood watch program or participating in National Night Out, contact Michele Balacek at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209)656-3153. The deadline to register for National night out is July 20.
In case of emergencies please call 911, or for non emergency issues in the city of Turlock please call (209)668-1200.